by Alex Poletti
Even with rookie Eddy Pineiro making his first career field goal and the dreaded “double doink” in the rearview mirror, the Bears’ kicking team was missing something. Chicago general manager Ryan Pace has found that missing piece in Lucy van Pelt of “Peanuts” fame, who will serve as the team’s holder in 2019.
“We don’t have the best history when it comes to kickers,” Pace admits. “So we thought we’d give Pineiro some help. Lucy has a great track record as a holder, always spurring her kicker to give it one last college try before yanking the ball away at the last second.”
Van Pelt has a storied history with the football in her hands, holding kicks since 1952, mostly with longtime friend Charlie Brown as the placekicker. Despite Brown’s unimpressive scoring stats, the Bears believe Lucy’s talent will translate to the pros.
“She seems to be doing everything right,” head coach Matt Nagy says. “As far as her yanking the ball away, I suppose Charlie Brown should’ve known better than to trust her. Let’s hope Pineiro can do the same.
Now, the duo of van Pelt and Pineiro is solidified, and the mishaps of team’s past should be behind them. However, Pineiro isn’t positive that his new teammate will do as she says and hold the ball long enough for him to kick it.
“She said, ‘I’ll hold the ball and you come running up and kick it,’” the kicker recalls of a practice with the recent acquisition. “My first thought was that she would pull it away like she had done every time before, but she assured me that this time she’d hold it there.”
The signing has received mixed reviews. The Bears, as they do with every new player, have treated van Pelt’s arrival as the second coming of Christ. Around the league, though, many wonder why Lucy was chosen, given her lack of college experience or versatility on the field. Pace has come forward to explain that while talent is important, he is more concerned with cultivating the Bears culture and finding players that match the philosophy of the team.
“If I can find a player who is a perfect fit for the Bears family, that’s who I’m going to sign,” Pace says. “I saw Lucy, and I saw someone who had the ability to bring hope into the lives of those around her. She got Charlie Brown so anxious to kick that ball. And then, when the hype was at its highest, she took the ball away and ruined Brown’s dreams. If that doesn’t sound like a member of the Chicago Bears special teams, I don’t know what does.”